Fourteen UTHSC Faculty Members Named 2020 Health Care Heroes by Memphis Business Journal

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Fourteen faculty members from the University of Tennessee Heath Science Center are being honored as Health Care Heroes this year by the Memphis Business Journal (MBJ) for their leadership in health care and in the battle against COVID-19.

“It is a tremendous joy to see our incredible UTHSC faculty recognized publicly for the work they do to help our community,” said Scott Strome, MD, FACS, Robert Kaplan Executive Dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine and vice chancellor for Health Affairs at UTHSC, and is among the fourteen being honored at UTHSC. “We endeavor to provide outstanding care for every single patient who seeks our help and to work with the communities and state in which we live, to ensure access to our services. I am so proud to be a member of such a terrific team and organization.”

Dean Strome is among this year’s Health Care Heroes. He was recognized for his efforts in reducing medical student debt, increasing diversity within the college, innovative teaching methods, and maintaining connections with alumni. His leadership throughout the pandemic was highlighted, including the launch of the UTHSC COVID-19 testing site originally at Tiger Lane and the UTHSC Coronavirus website, which provides resources and updated information on the coronavirus in English and in Spanish.

This year, rather than recognizing honorees at an event, MBJ is recognizing their “Health Care Heroes in Unprecedented Times” over the course of several months. The announcements began in the summer with Alisa Haushalter, DNP, RN, associate professor in the UTHSC College of Nursing and director of the Shelby County Health Department. Dr. Haushalter is also a UTHSC College of Nursing alumna.

Dr. Haushalter was recognized for leading Shelby County’s public health response to the pandemic. Since February, she has been the face of the county’s response strategy, leading press conferences to update the public on the course of the pandemic and leading community planning to mitigate its presence.

“Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Haushalter has been the face of the public health response in our community and has been described as ‘unflappable’ by others in leadership,” said UTHSC College of Nursing Dean Wendy Likes, PhD, DNSc, APRN-BC, FAANP. “She has been integral to the data-driven decisions being made to develop guidance to keep the public safe, including the three-phase approach to reopening the city and county.”

Another leader in the county’s response to the pandemic being honored by the MBJ is Jon McCullers, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics, senior executive associate dean of Clinical Affairs in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and pediatrician-in-chief of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

In late February before the pandemic hit Shelby County, Dr. McCullers partnered with clinical and community leaders to lead a press conference on campus to share information about the coronavirus and local preparedness. Since then, Dr. McCullers has participated in several coronavirus symposiums and countless media appearances to provide timely updates on COVID-19. He is a key member of the Mayor’s COVID-19 Task Force and serves on the COVID-19 Advisory Committee for the UT System. Dr. McCullers has been not only a leader in the community’s and state’s COVID-19 response, but has been on the front lines of the response at Le Bonheur.

Also being honored by the MBJ as “Health Care Heroes in Unprecedented Times” are:

David Schwartz, MD, professor and department chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology in the UTHSC College of Medicine. Dr. Schwartz was recognized for leading the charge to set up the COVID-19 testing site originally at Tiger Lane at the Memphis Fairgrounds in March.

Nick Hysmith, MD, assistant professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and medical director of Infection Prevention at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Sarah Weatherspoon, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Neurology in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and director of the Infantile Epilepsy Center at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Amber Thacker, MD, assistant professor and UTHSC Internal Medicine Residency Program site director for Regional One Health, and medical director of Hospital Medicine at Regional One Health

Frederick Azar, MD, professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in the UTHSC College of Medicine

Aditya Gaur, MD, associate professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine, clinical director of the Department of Infectious Diseases and medical director of Occupational Health at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Hana Hakim, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine, associate member of the Department of Infectious Diseases and medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Stephen Threlkeld, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and infectious disease expert at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis

Manoj Jain, MD, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and medical advisor for the Memphis Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force

Jeff Warren, MD, associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine in the UTHSC College of Medicine, and Memphis City Councilman and member of the Memphis Shelby County COVID-19 Task Force

Pedro Velasquez, MD, assistant professor in the UTHSC College of Nursing, and founder, owner, president, and chief medical officer at LifeDoc

Visit https://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/ for profiles of all of this year’s honorees.